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Please find below the judging results for your proposal.

Finalist Evaluation

Judges'' ratings


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Feasibility:
Impact:
Presentation:

Judges'' comments


This project is clear, appealing, well constrained and with a strong probability of success. The proposers have answered the judges' queries clearly and in full. They have a well-tested prototype home which delivers comfort in hot and cold conditions at low cost and with low technology. They now wish to roll it out. They look to have a good chance of success and will make a difference.

Semi-Finalist Evaluation

Judges'' ratings


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Judges'' comments


- The Judges found this proposal interesting and potentially very beneficial. There are a couple of questions the Judges would like to see answered: 1. How do the people who live in the houses view the comfort levels? Are they happy living there? 2. The Judges were not entirely clear about the summer cooling mechanism. The Judges understand this to be based around cold tap water. How likely is this to be available? How much water would be used - is this sustainable?

- Great. The challenge is to scale these solutions, and the Judges think you have addressed that well - villages can work together on this, lower skilled labor can construct. Making plans available open source with symbols (to overcome language barriers) seems like a good opportunity.

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Javed Sultan

Oct 28, 2017
05:51

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This is our response to the judge’s comments. First we would like to thank the judge’s for their time and feedback.  Our response is as follows:

  1. Q. How do people living view the comfort levels…

(Answer) People have now spent two seasons, winter and summer, in the home. From what the sisters at the Roman catholic Charity, where the home is located, tell us they find these homes very comfortable.  In summer the house is cool most of the time. The location where our prototype is situated rarely experiences summer temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold water (CW) based cooling, although available, has not been needed and to the best of our information has not been utilized. The site is also, most of the time, not uncomfortably humid. However in other locations of Lesotho summer does get very hot and CW circulation could further cool the house in extreme hot weather. Our cooling and heating system, the location experiences bitterly cold winters below freezing temperatures, is based on using water as the exchange medium in a heat exchanger.

There are two closed water based loop that circulate either cold or hot water depending on the season. Water loop system (WLS) “A”  warms or cools the water in a heat exchanger “C”. WLS “B”, a second hydronic loop, transfers that heat via radiant floor system. See diagram and section below. Loop “A” cools or warms the house, depending on the season, as it travels in an exposed copper pipe adjacent to the internal concrete wall. WLS “A” is able to transfer the heat to concrete wall, via perimeter piping similar to a perimeter baseboard system, as concrete has thermal mass and can store heat or cold and dissipate that slowly. The water in loop “A” is gravity fed from a tank located on the roof, and then it is pumped up to the tank using a 12 volt water pump.

The third critical system, a thermal storage system,  ( System “C”) is a water based heat exchanger (a tank full of water). So water in WLS “A” heats or cools the water in System “C”, which in turn heats or cools water in  WLS “B”. The water in System “B” transfers the heat, or cooling, through a radiant flooring system that runs under the floor slab. Since the floor is a concrete floor, it has thermal mass, and it gets cooled or heated in turn and keeps the room warm or cool as required. The water in system “C”  is circulated by a 12 volt water pump. System “C” is a water based system and in  future we anticipate using liquids which have a higher thermal mass capacity, such as mineral oils,  thereby we can store more heat during a 24 hour cycle.  

 

This circulating pump for either “A” or “B” is turned on or off by a timer, with a manual over-ride, to run for 15 minutes at intervals of every 6 to 8 hours.  The water in the tank has a capacity of over 30 gallons.

 

The water in system “A” comes from a solar hot water (SHW) on the roof – and that water is piped municipal water from a utility. The water in system “A” also has a direct line to shower and sink. Also a cold water line connects to WLS “A” and there is a manual toggle valve that either feeds system “A” with cold water(CW) for summer or HW for winter. A separate CW line feeds the sink and shower for CW.


Javed Sultan

Oct 29, 2017
01:03

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Please find below our response to some of the other questions raised by the judges. We thank the judges for their comments and feedback.

  1. If required be we do have a rain harvesting system, and that water can be fed to the solar hot water using a manual or electric  water pump. But for now the municipal water is quite reliable so we have not connected the system because of budget limitations. Also the rain water harvesting system is very poor and inadequate in Lesotho. We are hoping to come up with a more cost effective filtering system. For now, as is the case with most rain harvesting, contaminant such as bird droppings, dirt, leaves, and very often bacteria and algae, if filters are not regularly cleaned, make the water not potable. So rain harvesting must be accompanied with a good inexpensive filter system. We have done sand filters but they also have a brackish taste. We are working on settlement filters and we hope to soon have an effective strategy. 
  2. Even though it does not rain in Lesotho very much, it does rain in the upper altitudes and there is quite a few fresh water lakes, reservoirs, underground springs and aquifers, so much so that one of the significant export of Lesotho is water to South Africa.
  3. Scaling the project is a challenge. We were first of the opinion that once we taught the villagers they could go ahead and build their homes, with the help of the sisters leasing them the wall form-work. However in Lesotho most villagers, are poor, and cannot afford even the $5,000 to $6.000 (US) required to build a one room unit. Micro-finance institutions are lacking and mortgage if available - only for the upper income groups. So we believe we have to come up with a different strategy. Poorer countries must first deal with the unemployment issues, and try to stimulate their internal economy and manufacturing.  The best strategy that we can come up with is to train the villagers as well as commercial contractors. We are working on several design for one, two and three bedroom home for the middle and upper class, to help commercial contractors build these homes using our trained workers. In turn once these workers have employment, and money, and having learned the technique they can go back and build their homes. When people realize that instead of paying for imported electricity and fossil fuel for heating, they could build homes that can reduce their monthly outlay towards energy, the money will be invested in the internal economy as opposed to external economy. Also  y collecting waste and repackaging it for insulation in walls and floor slab, it will generate economic activity resulting in gainful garbage collection and employment for the poor. Also leasing and renting of form-work can create new economic activity. This for now seems to be the best approach – and we intend to give it our best shot.
  4. We are planning to put our plans and details, including videos of the construction process, online on an open source basis, once we have developed those audio-visual resources. But we also need to make sure that we have vetted our design and construction strategy so that risks are minimized and the end result is tangible and effective.

Javed Sultan

Nov 2, 2017
05:34

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In 2006 and 2007 we had built several earthquake resistant structures for the poor in Kashmir. Later our trained workers were able to build high end homes, sustainable, well insulated, energy efficient homes for the rich. The technique is very similar to our Lesotho prototype, but instead of using "Lunch Boxes" we used off the shelf expanded polystyrene (EPS - 4" thick), and some waste insulation, in the high end homes. The insulation is sandwiched between two layers of thin concrete walls. The poor workers got uninterrupted regular employment for more than a year and earned significant sum of money. Some of them went back and either invested in new business or improved their home.


Javed Sultan

Nov 3, 2017
03:32

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Please see spreadsheet and chart below for a much smaller carbon footprint of our structure. Thank you.

 


Javed Sultan

Nov 3, 2017
05:11

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Please note a small error in the comparison chart for masonry vs prototype. Column "F" should say net volume of concrete and not cement. It is estimated that 1 bag of cement produces 6 cu.ft of concrete for a concrete matrix mix of 1:2:4. Thanks.


Javed Sultan

Nov 4, 2017
12:34

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We have updated the above chart, with more information. We have also noticed in some web applications the above spreadsheet and graph do not appear. Please find the updated spreadsheet and graph below. Thanks.